Doctors’ Liability

In the Name of Allāh,

the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful

Praise is due to Allāh, Lord of the worlds, may the blessings and peace be upon our master Muḥammad, the last of prophets, on his family, and all his companions.

Resolution No. 142 (8/15) Doctors’ Liability

The Council of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, holding its 15th session in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, on 14–19 Muḥarram 1425h (6–11 March 2004),

Having examined the research papers submitted to the Academy concern- ing Doctors’ Liability,

Having listened to the discussions on the subject,


  1. Medicine is a science and art that serves humanity. A physician should always recall that Allāh The Almighty watches him while discharging his duties, and he should be keen to do his work honestly in accordance with the tech- nical and scientific norms of the profession.
  2. The physician becomes liable for the harm that the patient encounters in the following cases:

    1. If the physician did the harm
    2. If he is ignorant of medicine or of the branch in which he took an
    3. If he is not officially licensed by the competent official
    4. If he performed an action without the permission of the patient or one who decides on his behalf, as mentioned in Academy resolution 67 (5/7).
    5. If he deceived the patient.
    6. If he committed a mistake that his peers do not commit, or a mistake that is unacceptable according to the profession’s norms, or he acted negligently or below standards.
    7. If he unnecessarily disclosed the patient’s secret (as indicated in Academy resolution 79 (10/8)).
    8. If he refrained from doing his medical duty in emergency cases (cases

of necessities).

  1. The physician – or anyone of concern – shall become subject to penal liability in all the preceding cases – if the conditions for charging him are available – except in the case of paragraph (f ) above where penal liability holds true only in case of a gross mistake.
  2. When the medical treatment is done by a group of physicians, each of them shall be accountable for his own mistakes, as per the rule that “when the case involves a party that directly did the injury and another party who caused it, liability shall be assumed by the former, unless the latter proves to be worthier of assuming it.” The team leader would have a joint liability towards the mistakes of his team members if he made a mis- take in guiding them or gave below-standard supervision of their
  3. The medical institution, be it public or private, is liable for injuries that stem from its failure to fulfill its commitments or when it unnecessarily issues instructions that cause injury to the patient.


  1. Preparation of a study on potential contemporary applications of Aqilah (collective blood-money liability) and recommendations of Shariah- accepted
  2. Preparation of a study on sentimental and feelings injury and its compen- sation in all liability cases in general.
  3. Calling on Muslim governments to unify legislation that regulates medi- cal practices such as abortion, cerebral death, anatomization, etc.
  4. Requesting universities in the Muslim countries to introduce a special course on “Medical Ethics and Fiqh for Physicians” to be taught to stu- dents in the colleges of medicine and nursing.
  5. Requesting the governments of the Muslim countries to regulate and supervise practicing alternate and traditional medicine to avoid injuries that such practices may cause to the members of society.
  6. Urging the media to maintain tight controls on materials pertaining to the fields of health and medicine.
  7. Encouraging Muslim physicians to conduct research and experimentation in the field of science and Fiqh.
Indeed, Allāh is the Giver of Success.
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